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Limited disability supports for Trevor

Trevor is a middle-aged Aboriginal man with a mild intellectual disability and an acquired brain injury. He grew up in regional Victoria, where there was no appropriate disability support or housing available to him. Accordingly, he lives in aged care in Melbourne.

Trevor is prone to violent outbursts often against his mother and siblings and has been under guardianship a number of times but with limited success.

Some years ago, following a hospital admission, Trevor’s guardian met with the local hospital, members of the Aboriginal Cooperative, police and ambulance officers and was told that he had “burnt all his bridges” in his region, and had to find accommodation in Melbourne.

The guardian asked that Trevor’s Disability Support Package fund an external support provider so he would have access to the community while living in aged care. However, the service refused to work with Trevor after a violent outburst, without a comprehensive behaviour management plan.

The guardian requested NDIS support so he could return to Country and be near his mother.

Trevor’s first NDIS planning meeting took place several months later. The guardian requested age and culturally appropriate support.

A few weeks later, the guardian asked in vain for a copy of Trevor’s NDIS plan. Nearly a year later, he still did not have it.

When the second planning meeting took place, a specialist Acquired Brain Injury unit recommended that Trevor have funding for a specialist behavioural assessment and management plan, and their report and recommendations were provided to the planner. When Trevor’s plan eventually arrived, it did not include funding for this.

The guardian contacted the NDIA and was advised it did not have the necessary medical report to include funding for it in the plan. A request would have to be lodged for an internal review within the three-month period, about to expire.

After several emails and complaints spanning several months, advising the report had been handed to the planner at the second planning meeting, the review was finally completed with funding for the specialist behavioural management included. A support coordinator was engaged, and plans were made for a specialist behaviour practitioner. 

Shortly after, Trevor’s mother became terminally ill, asking to see her son. No disability services had begun work with Trevor, as they first required a comprehensive behaviour management plan. No services would accommodate him for a short stay in his hometown and no disability service was prepared to transport him there because of his behaviours.

Trevor’s mother passed away a few weeks later, without seeing her son. The guardian was told that Trevor would need to fund his own suitable, supported transport, which was limited to a private ambulance service, to attend the funeral on Country as the NDIA refused to fund disability transport.

However, due the guardian’s intervention, the NDIA eventually agreed to fund the transport and Trevor was able to attend his mother’s funeral but not to see her before she passed.